As vegans, our drive is based on the belief that animals have a life of their own and should be respected. Therefore, any form of cruelty and exploitation meted out on animals is unacceptable. However, there have been mixed reactions over the years regarding bugs. Should we eat them or not?
Vegans and vegetarians don’t eat bugs since they consider them animals. However, it depends on why one is a vegan and their views on insects. Some can eat bugs since it discourages eating meat; for environmental conservation, some bugs don’t feel pain, and to convince others to eat bugs.
Bugs are rich in protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Recently, there have been calls from all corners for the masses to accept insects as a normal diet. The claims are based on the bugs’ high nutritional value – especially the high iron content, amino acids, and healthy fats.
Do vegans eat bugs?
It depends. Some vegans do; others don’t. So, where you lie on this is influenced by what led you to become a vegan.
There are three motivations behind one becoming a vegan:
- Health: Under this, an individual chooses veganism as a way of life to improve their health. The vegan philosophy helps these individuals observe a healthy lifestyle by avoiding animal nutrients and getting them from other sources, such as plants.
- Environmental boost: These vegans are more concerned with environmental sustainability and play their part by adopting a healthy vegan lifestyle. Insects help conserve and create a better environment for all of us than meat rearing.
- Animal cruelty: Some people opt to become vegans to protect and protest the cruelty meted on animals. These individuals believe that the animals’ pain at the expense of satisfying humans’ taste buds is not worth it. And to protest and support animal rights, this group opts to become vegans.
With that, it’s clear that all vegans may not agree on whether eating bugs is acceptable for the vegans or not. Since most insects like crickets eat plants in a sustainable way, eating them is more environment-friendly.
Is eating bugs vegan?
There are instances when eating bugs can be considered vegan. For instance:
- If the conviction behind feeding on the bugs as a vegan is to discourage animal farming, then it’s justified. Bugs and insects can feed on waste. Therefore, by feeding on bugs, you discourage animal farming which could harm the environment more.
- Bugs need minimal resources such as land and water. Therefore, by consuming them, you are indirectly contributing to environmental conservation.
- Research has shown that some bugs don’t have pain receptors, meaning they don’t feel pain. So, if you have the option to consume bugs to prevent the next animal from being felled, then you are virtuous in the vegan sphere.
- If you choose to have bugs to convince other meat-eaters and farmers about the impact of their behavior on the environment’s sustainability, that would be considered vegan.
However, there are instances when consuming bugs can’t be considered vegan. For instance, if you feed on the bugs found in meat, you will be encouraging the meat-eaters to produce more, so you can have more bugs.
Or, if you feed on bugs that are meant to purify the environment for other animals to thrive, you will be aggravating the suffering of those animals against the vegans’ creed. You need to be careful with the bugs you eat since some Florida roaches aren’t edible.
Who are entotarians or entovegans?
Entotarians are vegans who choose to incorporate insects into their diet. This group doesn’t condone animal flesh, but they don’t have a problem with bugs and arachnids. The group is considered vegan as they don’t condone meat-eating, and even the bugs they feed on are hand-picked.
The reasoning behind endorsing insects is purely to create demand for environmentally friendly bugs instead of meat. This group can be classified as close to the vegans that are fine with consuming seafood to offload the water bodies and make room for recreation.
To understand veganism, you need to understand the different classifications. For instance, a pure vegan may not entirely consume animal meat and animal products. However, there are other classifications of vegans, like the Lacto-ovo, who don’t consume meat, poultry, and seafood but wouldn’t mind consuming poultry and dairy products.
Now, for entovegans, they don’t consume meat or poultry but don’t mind bugs, dairy, and egg products. Their motivation stems from being able to minimize animal cruelty by feeding on alternatives such as bugs.
The group justifies choosing bugs over animal meat by discouraging animal farming, consumption, and cruelty and supporting insect consumption.
Whatver group of insect-eaters you belong to, stay away from insects with yellow stripes since most of them sting and don’t have good nutritional value.
Are bugs healthy to eat?
Bugs are healthy to eat for many reasons.
- First, they contain high nutritional content. For example, most bugs contain high protein content, healthy fats, and amino acids.
- Bugs are low on carbohydrates which is ideal, especially if you are on a journey to maintaining a healthy weight range. They are also ideal if you are looking for a diet rich in essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
- The human body requires these nutrients in moderation, and what better way to have them than in bugs? The thrill and sumptuousness are all worth the effort and the time.
Consider including bugs in your meals instead of overly processed meals in your diet, scrambling to fill up the proteins and minerals deficit. At first, the feeling may be scary, but once you get used to it and consider the bigger picture, you’ll choose a plate of bugs over chicken anytime.
What are the benefits of eating bugs/insects?
Bugs have constant nutritional value on our bodies, and they go a long way in ensuring a healthier you.
Some of the benefits of eating bugs include:
1. Healthy Heart
The heart relies heavily on the ability of the veins and arteries to pump blood in and out of the heart. To strengthen these veins, you need to consume a healthy diet rich in iron to allow the blood to flow and rich in other nutrients that strengthen the body’s muscles.
Such nutrients can easily be found in bugs. For instance, a plate of crickets contains highly nutritious content that is rich in vitamin B12, zinc, fiber, iron, and vitamin B6.
These are critical in ensuring the blood is properly pumped in and out of the heart. If you have an elderly person under your care, consider feeding them bugs to boost their immune and blood flow.
2. Improve Gut Health
As you shop, you are attracted to that new flour package. On reading about the contents, you realize crickets are the main ingredients. You are confused about whether to try it out as a vegan or leave it. Well, just take it.
Some insects, such as crickets, contain a high nutritional value that potentially improves your gut health exponentially. So go for it and boost your gut health.
3. Boost Immunity
Day in and day out, you are at the doctor with varying problems. First, it’s the cold; next, it’s the gut, and now the stomach. It’s high time you did something about your overall immune system.
Get that plate of bugs. Yes, they will boost your immune, minimizing your doctor’s trips. For instance, if you choose to have a plate of grasshoppers now and then, you can rest assured you won’t have problems with your acidity levels and overall gut health for a long time.
What do bugs taste like?
This reminds me of our last Thanksgiving.
Ever had shellfish or crabs? That’s the closest taste I can relate to bugs. They are crunchy and sweet. Their hard exoskeleton will have you yearning for more.
If you are in a restaurant, you can have them customized to your pleasant taste. But, naturally, the bugs are flat as they lack salt or flavor, so it’s critical to specify your preferred flavor.
So, do vegans eat bugs? It depends on personal preferences and the motivation behind veganism. I don’t mind a plate of bugs once in a while to supplement the plant proteins and show my meat lover brother there are better options that create a better environment for all of us and lower the suffering meted out to animals.